04 Dec National Reserve Bank of Tonga to Launch New Tongan National Payment System in coming months.
The National Reserve Bank of Tonga (NRBT) has announced that it has now completed hands-on exercises and training sessions with all commercial banks’ relevant departments, as Tonga readies itself for the new National Payment System’s launch.
“The project is to modernise and automate Tonga’s payment system which will improve efficiencies and timely delivery of financial payments and other financial transactions. This will in turn contribute to the financial and payment system stability of Tonga. It is an initiative of the National Reserve Bank of Tonga, in partnership with payment systems developer, KlickEx Pacific, of New Zealand”, The Central Bank said today in a press release.
“Working with the NRBT has been a privilege for our team”, CEO of KlickEx Pacific, Robert Bell said. “We are incredibly impressed with them as regulators, as well as partners; and the thought leadership in Tonga on National Financial Infrastructure, and system stability is world class and plain to observe.”
The Tongan National Payment system is the first locally developed real time National Payment System designed and built in the Pacific; it includes Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS), ACH, Digital Cheque Processing, Foreign Exchange, Government Bond Trading, and other features.
From early next year, all Tonga’s commercial Banks including the ANZ Bank, Bank South Pacific (BSP), MBf Bank, and the Tonga Development Bank (TDB), will use the National Payment System for local payments, interbank settlements, reserves management, consumer cheque and wholesale payments, as well as Foreign Exchange, Government Bonds, and Regulatory Collateral management.
The hands-on-exercises and training for Compliance, Operations, and IT Staff from the commercial banks to operate the State of the Art systems, occurred on the 2nd and 3rd of December 2020, at the NRBT’s headquarters in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, the National Reserve Bank of Tonga has confirmed.
The training was conducted in full by the National Reserve Bank of Tonga’s staff, who have been operating the system in parallel to established processes since 2019.
“The COVID-19 crisis has been a challenge to us all, and shifted the final phases of implementation initially established for March 2020, into contingency mode – which included remote development and completion – with several great new features added during the delay. The Tongan National Payment System is an excellent addition to the toolkit of the National Reserve Bank of Tonga for the management of its obligations across the Tongan Financial System. For us, it also is a powerful additional service that complements our real time cross border services, card systems, and other retail platforms very well”, said Mr Bell.
“It is a thrill for us to know now that a Central Bank, as well as Tonga’s banks including regional brands such as ANZ and BSP, will be using our systems to deliver to market vastly improved retail experiences, and safer more efficient back office services in the Tongan Market.
“Over the past few years we are pleased to have become the trusted technical partner of the NRBT for this project – and commit to the Pacific Region considerable resources to serve the populations, and other Central Banks.
“Tonga is one of the few countries to have implemented real time payment services to all of its banks, without exclusion. Despite being a smaller economy than most – Tonga has one of the highest ratios of Banks per Capita, and amongst the highest capital requirements (scaled for population and GDP) in the world. It also has one of the highest penetrating Mobile Money systems per capita too – also fuelled by KlickEx, beginning in 2011.
“The National Payment System framework is ready for growth, and is easily customisable to the other Pacific Markets. I would encourage all other Central Banks to join the NRBT on this Pacific-lead journey forward”, concluded Mr Bell.
NRBT Press Release
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About the NRBT
The National Reserve Bank of Tonga (NRBT) is the central bank of Tonga. The Reserve Bank is responsible for regulating the issue and supply of domestic and international currency, as well as promoting monetary stability and economic development. It also advises the Ministry of Finance on banking and monetary matters, acts as the principal banker and fiscal agent of the Government of Tonga, and is responsible for the licensing and supervision of all Banks, Insurers, and other financial institutions.
KlickEx (www.KlickEx.org) is an award winning and prudentially regulated financial-technology company, based in Auckland, New Zealand. With operations spanning the Oceania – KlickEx is regarded globally as a leader in innovative financial product development for developing economies. It’s platforms include real time payment systems, mobile money and mobile wallet platforms, credit card services, consumer identity services, insurance, and financial inclusion services, provided to Central Banks, Banks, Telecommunication Companies, Utilities and Corporates, and other Financial Institutions.
Front row second from the right is the NRBT’s Assistant Governor of Operations, Mr. Lata Tangimana who leads the internal working group on the national payment system, and the Chief Manager Financial System, Mr, Tevita Vaha’i (front row center)
Mrs Taufa Lutui and the Financial Institution Examiner for ANZ, Mr. Sateki Seau (seated behind ANZ staff)
Mrs. Tapule Moala Kuluka assisted with the training instructions to BSP Staff
Mrs Louveve Leone (back center), led MBf Staff in operating the National Payment System.